GAINESVILLE — The frustration that exuded from the North Hall bench was palpable.
Regardless of double-teams and three-to-four hands in his face everytime a shot left his hand, Chestatee’s Parker Smith scored 19 points in the first half and missed only one of his nine shots from the field in the second half on his way to 46 points for the game.
"I didn’t want to lose at all," Smith said. "We had to come out and fight and I wanted to play better defense and rebound better; the shots just fell on their own."
The Tennessee State signee’s effort led the War Eagles to a 68-61 win over the Trojans on Tuesday night at Chestatee High, handing North Hall (13-5, 6-1) its first subregion loss of the season and setting a school record for wins in a season at Chestatee (17-5, 5-2 Region 7A-AAA).
"A couple of weeks ago we went over and lost at North Hall," Chestatee coach Russ Triaga said, "and we saw it as a challenge to respond because they really worked us over on the defensive end.
"Our emphasis was to attack."
The War Eagles started the game on a 10-4 run thanks, in part, to six quick points by Smith.
The Trojans came storming back, cutting the lead to one in the first quarter on a short jumper by senior Andrew Peck, who finished with a team-high 14 points. It would be the closest North Hall would get the entire night.
The Trojans were unable to make that one shot that would overtake the Chestatee lead and each time North Hall got close, Smith and company had an answer to swing the momentum back in their favor.
Case in point: With 48 seconds remaining in the first quarter, a Brannon Nix 3-pointer from the top of the key brought North Hall within 17-16.
Smith, who hit six 3-pointers on the night, answered the call of Nix’s 3-pointer with one of his own, giving his War Eagles a 20-16 advantage at the end of one quarter.
Chestatee took what would be its biggest lead of the game, an eight-point lead, at the beginning of the second quarter thanks to a 3-pointer by Branden Jovaag and two Smith free throws.
Jovaag finished the game with 11 points, Smith finished 14-of-14 from the free-throw line.
While the War Eagles were having little problem scoring thanks to Smith and Jovaag, the fact that they kept North Hall from scoring also played a big part in the win Tuesday night.
Prior to tonight, the Trojans were averaging 67 points per game while giving up a miserly 58; only 12 better than Smith scored by himself.
"Everybody knows what they do, but they do it real well so you have to play assignment defense as much as possible and make sure every shot is contested," Triaga said. "If not they’ll get on a roll and put a lot of points up.
"North Hall’s very good and very well-coached."
Chesatee took a six-point lead into halftime and didn’t
relinquish that lead for the duration of the game due mainly to Smith not missing a single shot in the third quarter en route to 27 second-half points.
"This game was great," Smith said. "We built some momentum and we’re back in the mix in subregion."
The Trojans did manage to keep Chestatee’s lead to only one point for the better part of a minute, with three minutes to go in the game, thanks to five points by Ethan Satterfield.
Smith, however, did everything in his power to not only keep the Trojans at bay, but keep the momentum in his team’s favor, as he scored 13 of the War Eagles’ final 15 points.
"Our intensity and emotion came back," Triaga said, "We’re 17-5 and nobody talks much about that."
North Hall was led by Peck, Josh Haymore with 11 points and Satterfield with 10 points.
Chestatee returns to action at 8:30 p.m. Friday when it travels to White County while North Hall plays host to East Hall at 8:30 p.m. Friday.
North Hall girls 51, Chestatee 42
The thumbs-up sign given by the parents of North Hall starting point guard Elizabeth Williams was the call of the game for the Lady Trojans.
With her team floundering in the second half after allowing a 7-4 run by Chestatee to pull the Lady War Eagles (9-12, 4-3 Region 7A-AAA) within two of the Lady Trojans’ lead, Williams re-entered the game.
She had been absent from play due to a collision which led to a stitch-worthy gash under her right eye. Williams had to wait for a plastic surgeon to call her parents before she knew whether she would be allowed to be treated by the trainer on staff and sent back in the game.
Luckily for her team, the plastic surgeon gave the "ok" and upon coming back in, Williams extended her team’s lead to seven points on a put back and assist to fellow senior Letiecia Davenport.
Williams’ resiliency shown brightest in the waning minutes of the game when, with her team battling through a Chestatee run, she hit back-to-back layups to break a tied score and give her team a lead it would not relinquish.
Davenport led the Lady Trojans (15-6, 5-2) with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Williams and Bradee Burrell added eight points a piece.
Peyton Robertson led Chestatee with 14 points.
The Lady Trojans return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they play host to East Hall while Chestatee next plays White County at 7 p.m. Friday in Cleveland.